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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000143.txt from 1999/04

From: "Dan Leeson:>
Subj: [kl] Wood/plastic, etc...
Date: Sat, 3 Apr 1999 15:40:35 -0500

The argument is once again being made that certain media produce
inferior clarinets because the nature of that media inhibits or
changes the vibratory characteristics of the clarinet itself.
Thus, continues the argument, plastic is not as good as wood, and
wood type A is not as good as wood type B, glass is not as good as
bamboo, metal is not as good as hard rubber, etc., etc.

A seemingly objective experiment is offered to establish proof of
the assertion that instrumental vibration (as contrasted with
vibration of an air column) impacts the nature of the clarinet's
characteristic sound. But in an instant, that objective experiment
is contradicted by another who says that he tried it and it did not
do what was suggested.

This is another one of those interesting arguments for which KLARINET
is best suited to hear and review all the details. I know this to
be the case because we have done it on at least 6 different occasions
over the last 5 years. It is worth a review of the history files to
see the various arguments on this subject, and the proponent of the
"materials do matter" theory should really read up on them. He is
working at a serious disadvantage if he does not. Worse, his
arguments are not going to be convincing.

Ed Lacy is quite right to argue against "how things feel" by saying
that this subject is not religion, it's science. For anyone to say
that something is true because he or she hears it to be true is
not someone who can offer reliable testimoney on this subject. It
is the height of non-objectivity to presume that the way one hears
something is an insight into technical truth.

Finally this: the assertion that holding the barrel while playing
and open G produces a different character in the sound is a very
questionable statement because it can be immediately challenged. But
if one does hear a different character of sound when doing this
experiment, at least one dozen different things can be responsible
for this alleged difference, none of which are related to the
conclusion that was offered. For example, the act of grabbing the
barrel while playing can alter the position of the instrument in
the mouth. Lacy offered another; i.e., reed slippage. I offer
yet a third: the person doing the experiment believes that there will
be a difference and, therefore, hears one.

Read the KLARINET files on this subject. Lacy is light years ahead
of you on this technical matter.

Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California

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